On The Outside

Chapter 5

Do you know what it means to be truly 'lost' in your emotions? To be so completely baffled by limitless unknown possibilities that it snatches the voice right from your throat and refuses to let you speak? I was so confused. My mind was twisting and turning with a billion thoughts all at once, and Drew occupied every single one of them. It was like having somebody spinning me around on a giant wheel until I was so dizzy and disoriented that I couldn't even see straight. And then, just as the world was beginning to come back into focus, Drew would do something adorable, and the wheel would send me spinning off in a whole new direction. That was the depth of my feelings for Drew. This boy who had given me a totally different perspective on everything life had to offer after just a month or so. I was thinking about what to say to him at all times of the day whether he was there or not. I didn't know what I should think and shouldn't think when it came to our newfound 'friendship'. I didn't know whether to touch him, or leave him alone. I looked for hints and clues for somthing more in every word he said. But I never found any. Whenever he was quiet, I would concentrate in an attempt to read his mind. I never could. If he looked at me, those big beautiful eyes of his twinkling brightly with every ray of light that hit them, I would melt inside. If he spoke to me, my lungs would deflate and I'd find it hard to breathe. He affected every aspect of my life at this point. My school days, my weekends, my thoughts, my feelings, my fantasies, my dreams. EVERYTHING! I don't think there was a second of the day when the idea of him wasn't muscling it's way into my mind. Is this love? Or am I infected with some kind of sick virus? And if I am...why oh why does this feel so good?

You'd think that I would have told him that I wanted to be with him by now. You have no idea how many times I had made myself that promise over the last few days. I didn't think that it would be too much of an ordeal. I was, as Drew once said so sweetly, one of the 'cool kids'. I knew how to talk to people and joke around and speak my mind. But whenever I got close enough to talk to him, it was as if my fears wrapped their icy fingers around my throat with an unbreakable grip, and squeezed until it was a struggle to have even the simplest of conversations with him. He just had this strange effect on me, like putting a magnet too close to a computer screen. It just scrambled everything and made it impossible for me to think clearly. How in the world did he accomplish the feat of reducing me to a total idiot in such a short amount of time?

I kept thinking back to our nights alone, when we didn't have anyone else to worry about. Nobody looking over our shoulders. When we didn't have to think about whether or not someone saw us smiling at one another, or eating lunch together, or speaking openly about how we feel. I thought about the deep conversations we had, Drew's 'speech' about being labeled, the giggles we shared, and the magical night when we kissed each other for the first time. And you know what I realized? Whenever we were alone, whenever we subtracted 'other people' out of the equation...things were so much easier. So much more pure. We could actually be OURSELVES for a change and just live by whatever guidelines our hearts had set for us. No masks, no restrictions, no judgements, no laws, no Biblical damnations...just us, in our simplest form. I did things I NEVER would have done in a room full of people, and I'm sure Drew did too. It's funny, but the more I thought about it, the more I HATED 'other people'! The more I realized that we didn't fucking NEED 'other people'! The NERVE of them sicking their noses in our business! Nobody ever asked them to come into our bedroom anyway. There were times when I just looked at the rest of our biology class with a feeling of utter disgust for intruding on 'our' time together. Thinking to myself, "If it weren't for YOU assholes and you goddamned rules and double standards, Drew and I could be together without any shame at all!" It was times like that, through clenched teeth, that I silently wished that the 'world' and it's idiotic, opinionated, group of so-called rulers, judges, and kings, would just get off of their fucking soapbox and leave us the hell alone! I wished that I could tell them to their face that I didn't give a shit what they thought about me, and that if they thought for one second that they were the final word on ANYTHING concerning the aspects of 'normality', that they were SADLY mistaken! Because there are as many different traits and flaws as there are people in the world, and it's insulting to think that they could EVER believe for a single moment that they have any right to place judgement on me or anyone else. Let them have their opinions, but understand that I couldn't care less about them, so keep them to yourself asshole.

So what kept me silent? Let's face it...'other people' can be a VERY intimidating bunch. Their very presence strikes fear in the heart of anyone who dares to be different, especially in high school. So I'm forced back into my cowardly position...and hope that one day I'll find the courage to tell Drew that this 'best friend' bullshit isn't going to work for me at all. Not the way I feel.

"Are you feeling alright?" I snapped out of my daydream and saw Drew giving me a weird look from the desk next to me.

"Yeah...yeah, I'm fine."

"The bell rang. We can go now." He said. Sigh...his voice was so cute. Such a light voice, such soft pink lips forming each word. GOD he was beautiful to me! It was actually getting worse! "You coming?"

"Yeah...sure." I said, slowly rising to my feet. I grabbed my stuff and walked with Drew to his next class. Maybe it was the sunlight hitting his hair and changing it from light brown to a dark shade of gold, maybe it was the sound of the gentle rasp in his adorable teenage voice, or maybe it was the fact that it felt as though the school's thermostat had been turned up to 195 DEGREES all of the sudden...but I just could NOT stop looking at him. We were walking to class, and every word that came out of his mouth seemed as though it were accompanied by the voices of 100 angels in perfect harmony. I stared at him until I could see the pores in his skin, until I was afraid that he'd spontaneously combust from the amount of attention that I was putting on him. I just couldn't bare to take my eyes off of him for even a second. "I think if we put another night or two of hard work into it, we can finish up this whole project and be done with it." He said, his voice occassionally penetrating through the fog of my uncontrollable infatuation with him.

"Yeah...probably..." I mumbled.


"Ahem...I said...yeah....probably..." I was choked up, nervous, brainless. My mouth went competely dry in an instant, and my stomach muscles were fluttering around like bats in a frenzy. Maybe it was that sexy phone conversation we shared not long ago. At least I thought it was sexy. Or maybe it was the hug I gave him from behind when he left my house the last time we got together. Maybe it was his mom knowing who I was, or the fact that he was holding back some of that light that he brought to my life these days. Arrrrgh! I didn't know WHAT it was that kicked this crush of mine into high gear, but somewhere along the line, I had allowed the floodgates to open. Now there was no stopping it. The damn had burst and my feelings were pouring out of me to the point where I thought everyone in the whole damn school could tell.

"So do you?" Drew asked. SHIT! Wasn't paying attention.

"Um...yeah...sure. Probably." I answered.

"Ethan...I just asked you if you like to insert batteries into your asshole." He grinned. My eyes got wide and I blushed furiously, my mouth hanging open in embarrasment.

"Omigod..." I said. And do you want to know the WORST part? I was almost aroused by the idea of his suggestion, simply because HE said it. Sigh...nobody sounds cuter saying the word 'asshole' than Drew does.

"Omigod is right. Dude, what's with you today? Ever since the other night you've had like a four word vocabulary." I couldn't even bare to look him in the eye while we were walking. The contact with his pretty hazel specs brought a level of excitement to my body that I wouldn't be able to 'hide'...if you know what I mean.

"I'm...I'm sorry. I guess I'm just phasing out today. I've got...stuff on my mind." I replied.

"Do you wanna talk about it?" Awww...he's so CUTE!

"Nah, I'll be fine." I lied.

"Alright. I'll catch you later then, ok?" I hdn't even noticed that we had already reached his classroom already. Geez, I was turning into quite the space cadet these days.

"Do you wanna eat lunch in the park today?" I asked, the jitters aking me shake visibly as though I were asking him to the prom.

Drew hesitated briefly, looking for something to say, "Well...I don't know. Maybe. I'll have to see what my homework is like tonight. I might go to get a jump on it by staying in my study hall through lunch period." He said, his eyes turned to the ground. He was even cute when he was rejecting my lunch offer. This is bad.

"Are...are you sure? I'd...I'd...uh..." I had a lump in my throat, the butterflies in my stomach swarmed up to stop me, and my shortness of breath had me gasping for air as it was...but I said it anyway, "...I'd love to see you there. I miss our time together...you know? I...like spending time with you Drew..." I trailed off a bit, my gaze looking anywhere and everywhere but into his beautiful eyes. Saying those words, even in a 'friendly' way, was almost enough to make me pass out right there at his feet.

I was terrified that maybe I said too much. That it was less of a 'hint', and more of a 'hit him over the head with a sledgehammer' type of thing. I don't want him to know I like him yet. Well...I mean I DO, but not YET. I don't...think. What the hell am I doing? "I dunno...I'll...I'll see. Ok?" It sounded as if Drew was beginning to get a little bashful himself, and once a rosey glow began to rush into his cheeks, he turned to leave. "Gotta go. Later." And he was gone. Gone.

I stood there for a minute, not yet satisfied with the level of interaction I had with him. Still wanting more...just a little bit more. I didn't want to leave that spot. In fact, I wanted to think of a reason to go in there with him and just spend a few more minutes looking at him, dreaming about him, admiring him. But I couldn't think of a single reason for me to be chasing him into a crowded classroom, so I chickened out, and I left. I'll just have to be patient to see him again. As much as I thought about him these days, it's not like he ever left me anyway.

By the end of that last class before lunch, I was literally fidgeting in my seat. Tapping my fingers, biting my pen cap, knocking my knees together at the thought of finding out whether or not Drew would accept my offer. I didn't even realize how anxious I was at the moment, until I found out that I had suddenly picked up Drew's nervous habit of twirling his pencil between his fingers. It's something I had never done before, but developed from staring at him at every possible moment. Subconsciously absorbing every aspect of his behavior, feeling closer and closer to him every second of every day. There was no denying it...I was falling in love. I mean REALLY falling in love. It was like having your chest inflated with helium until you're lifted up into the clouds. Just thinking of his smile was enough to get me excited. I've gotta tell him. I've GOT to! This isn't just an infatuation anymore...this is something weird, and it's starting to hurt more than feel good. Every day that I don't tell him is an incomplete sentence in my day, a frustrating unsolved riddle, and it SUCKS because he's holding the answers. He just won't give them to me. Arrrgh!

The bell rang, and I shot out of my seat to a standing position so fast that I caught a few strange looks from my other classmates. Okaaaay...we're wound a little tight today, Ethan. Let's just settle down and relax a little bit. I slowed down and attempted to put my books into my backpack as 'normally' as possible. Then I calmly 'walked' to the door instead of bolting out of there like a racehorse out of the gate. However, once in the hallway, I felt myself picking up speed, taking longer strides, trying to get to Drew's study hall as quickly as I could without looking too juiced up about it. I didn't even know my heart could pump this fast without breaking down.

I waited outside of his classroom, rows and rows of desks in a giant room usually used for school meetings and the like when the auditorium was too big for the occassion. I stood off to the side as the herd of teenagers came flooding out into the hallway, dragging whatever conversations they were having out with them. I stood on my toes to scan the crowd for Drew's curly brown locks so I could surprise him, but when the crowd began thinning out, he was nowhere to be seen. I looked in through the door and saw about three or four kids who I guess decided to stay there through their lunch period for extra time...and Drew was one of them. Sigh...I take it he's not coming out to the park with me then. It made my heart sink a little, but just seeing him sitting there was cool enough for the moment. I peeked around the door, and thee he was...so adorable that I was literally melting inside. He was slumped down in his seat a little, one leg bent, the other stretched out, spread apart at a classic 'teen slump' angle. His slim shoulders led down to thin arms, covered with cream white skin, smooth, soft, warm. His silken curls had fallen a bit downwards into his eyes from looking down at his desk, and as he was writing, working out a problem in his head, he bit down on his bottom lip slightly. Occassionally, his tongue would stick out a bit at the side of his mouth while he was writing, and it was soooo cute that it made me sigh outloud just to catch a glimpse of it. Shiny and pink, peeking out at the corner of his soft red lips...Jesus...how am I EVER going to tell this boy that I love him?

It might have been a few seconds, or maybe a few minutes, that I had been staring at Drew through that doorway...but soon enough was enough. I couldn't just walk away and go to lunch without at least hearing his voice. So I pulled my bag up on my shoulder and walked into the room to say hello. It seemed to take forever to finally reach his desk, but I did. He was concentrating so hard that he didn't even see me walk up. "Hey..." I said, my voice barely climbing above a nervous whisper.

Drew looked up, "OH! Hey..." And he closed his notebook shut quickly, his pen rolling off onto the floor. He bent over to pick it up, his delicate fingers feeling around for it, and I had to catch my breath. SOOO Tempted to look at his ass as he leaned over to the side, trying not to notice the softened flexibility of this gorgeous boy. Sometimes it seemed as if he had no bones at all. A flash of sexual images sped past me, with Drew's legs pushed upwards, his knees comfortably resting up on his chest. Smiling no matter how far I pushed them back, never feeling the strain of the position. Kissing his ankles delicately, his rosebud exposed and open...quivering erotically with the anticipation of my entry. Oh wow...oh wow...I had to stop myself from whimpering outloud at the thought. I was almost beginning to sweat, my eyes looking up at the ceiling to keep from being caught staring, when he finally retrieved it. The whole thing only took a second or two, but it seemed like an eternity. "What brings you in here..?" He asked, working up a sweet timid smile.

"I...uh...I thought maybe you changed your mind about lunch." There go the butterflies again. I hope he can't see me shaking, because I feel like I'm a few steps away from a seizure here.

"Oh...that. Um...actually, I can't. I'm sorry, but I've got some stuff to do today. Besides, I let Patrick borrow my notes from History and he's not finished with them yet, so..." He shrugged his shoulders and left it at that.

"Patrick, huh?" I said, almost cringing at the name. I looked over Drew's shoulder and saw the apparent object of his affections. Or so he says. The sad thing is...he looked nothing like me at all. Which meant that if Drew's tastes fell into that particular category, then this whole damn crush of mine was a fucking joke from day one, because I never had a chance anyway. Patrick was one of those cute boys that was built like an athlete, but wasn't one. Just genetically blessed with a good body, and never had to do anything to develope it or maintain it. His body just naturally knew all the right places to put just the right amount of muscle, and make him look sexy as hell at all times, no matter what the circumstance. He had light blond hair, dark brown eyes, not a single zit in sight. The ass of a god, a reputation that kept him popular with boys, girls, and teachers alike, and name brand 'everything' from his clothes to his notebooks to the cereal he ate for breakfast. He was taller than me, thin, sweet smelling...Patrick is one of those boys that's so disgustingly cute, you just look at him and think to yourself, "Ohhhh FUCK YOU! Bastard!" Why does God make the competition look like that?

"You're daydreaming again." Drew whispered with a smile, and I focused my thoughts back on him. "You really ARE spacing out today, aren't ya?"


"Again with the 'yeah, probably' syndrome." Drew didn't even realize how much effort it took me to say even THAT without screwing it up. It's hard to talk when the words 'I love you' are pounding in your head over and over and OVER again. "Listen, we'll do it again soon, ok? I just need to stay here today."

It was as instantaneous and unexpected as the touchdown of a tornado, but a fire swirled up inside of me, and took control of my mood. I looked down at Drew, 'rejecting' me for lunch, and then I looked back over at Patrick...sitting in the same room, with Drew's History notes in his hand. Ohhhhh...I see what's going on here. Now all of the sudden, he wants to sit in and stare at Mr. Blond Hottie while I suffer alone without him? "Fine...forget it then." I said, and walked away.

"Wait...what did I do?" He said, not knowing his offense. I didn't mean for it to sound as angry as it did, but whatever it was buring and screaming inside of me at that moment was too strong to hide behind a mask of normal conversation.

I stopped for a second, and Patrick had looked up from his paper, and so had the other two or three kids in the study hall to see what was up. "Nothing. Really. I'll see you later." I did all I could to swallow the jealous pitch of my voice, but despite my shit eating grin, it came through anyway. No matter, I walked out of the room and left it alone. It's nothing, I'll be fine.

I knew that if I had spent the lunch hour in the park by myself that the silence would swallow me whole and I'd only get my thoughts all wrapped up in Drew and Patrick making out somewhere while trying not to laugh about the fact that I didn't know about it. I wasn't even sure where all this extra emotion was coming from all of the sudden, swinging from like to love to jealousy to anger to pain....and quite rapidly I, might add. Something was just keeping me extremely sensitive when it came to him in any way, shape, or form. Basically...I'm getting even more weird than I was before. So...in order to save myself an entire lunch period of agonizing over some hidden affair that wasn't happening, to wreck a relationship that I didn't have, with someone who may or may not like me...I decided to join Jermaine and the guys in the cafeteria instead. I could at least have a few laughs to take my mind off of things.

"Look who decided to dop in, for a change?" Joey said, "I was beginning to think that lunch was against your religion."

"Yeah, I know. I've been busy with stuff lately, that's all." I said, taking my rightful place at the table. Same seat as always. It had become such a subliminal routine for us to follow.

Jermaine nudged me in the shoulder, "So what happened to you and the movies on Friday? I thought for sure you were gonna hang out with us that night. You missed out."

"Ah, shit! I forgot. What happened?"

"Jermaine here moved up a few notches on the old 'social scale' this weekend." Joey grinned. "AND...he seemed to be getting pretty friendly with Missy from the looks of it."

I looked over at Jermaine, a bit surprised. He had always talked about girls, always wanted to date a few, but never had the guts to actually say much more than hello to one before. I almost didn't think it was possible for him to be considered as half of a 'couple'. "Am I hearing this right? You giving up the sport of chronic masturbation for a new career?" Joey and Billy giggled a bit, so I added, "Your 'team mates' hee will be crushed."

"Hey now...no crime in knowing your body dude." Joey said playfully.

"Damn skippy, my sticky companion!" I cheered.

"You two speak for yourselves. I'm already WORKING on my next piece of ass. And it's sure to pay off eventually." Billy replied, taking a healthy bite of his pizza slice.

"Sigh...not the girl in the hallway again?" I groaned.

"Yes, as a matter of fact it IS the girl in the hallway. And her name is 'B', thank you very much!" Billy had his nose slightly turned up in the air, a grin on his face.

Jermaine and I both looked over at him, and Jermaine asked, "'B' is her NAME?"

Joey said, "He saw her wearing her school jacket the other day. First initial, last name. 'B. Rene' is the name we have so far. We're on the case for more information."

"I'm thinking that she looks like a Becky, or a Brandi...maybe even a Brenda. Or, one of my favorites..." Billy's eyes glazed over a bit, "...Britney! Mmmmm...can you imagine? I'm thinking that's gotta be it. At least that's what I call her when I'm dreaming about her. Hehehe! How does this sound? 'Oh...Oh Britney! Yeah...suck me Britney!' Sounds hot, right?" He laughed, but something told me he was a bit more serious than he wanted to let on. I couldn't help but snicker a little to myself.

"Maybe her name is just 'Bitch'...did you ever think of that? Just some random bitch." Jermain grinned.

"It would be easy to remember don't you think?" I added, and we all had a little laugh at his expense.

"Awwww, screw you guys. I'm betting that it's Britney, and if not, it'll be something even better. Watch, you'll see."

We all had a decent lunch period, shared some giggles, and it felt good to be back with the 'old gang' again. They were my friends, and as much as I hated to think of them this way...they were 'safe'. I loved them all dearly, but I knew what to expect from them most of the time, and I knew how to handle any surprises that they could throw my way. There was a certain predictability in our back and forth dialogue at the lunch table or anywhere else for that matter. No guessing games, no insecurities making me wonder what they meant by 'that last comment', no confused feelings driving me crazy and causing my body to go haywire. I didn't feel the danger and risk with them like I felt for...

"Drew. What's up man?" Jermaine said, and I turned around to see him standing there, bag slumped over his shoulder. My heart started pounding away on instinct, and I struggled to say hello to him...this lovely vision in front of me. The table got pretty quiet all of the sudden, and even though Jermaine was sticking to his end of the bargain and being nice to Drew, I don't think Joey and Billy were ready to make such a committment just yet. And the two of them kinda zipped their lips shut and silently went back to eating their lunch, never once lifting their eyes from the table.

"Hey..." Drew said quietly. He looked over at Joey and Billy and shyly whispered a greeting to them too, but they just kinda nodded their heads. Grrr...well, at LEAST they acknowledged his presence at our table. I guess I shouldn't push for much more right now. "Um...Ethan...I wanted to know...if I could talk to you for a second."

"Yeah...sure." I said, my voice trembling.

"A-a-alone? Just for a second?" He said, and his eyes looked over the table as the concept of being 'alone' hit the other boys at the table and caught their interest. But they didn't say anything, and put their heads back down.

"Uhhh sure. That's cool. Um...I'll be right back, you guys." I said, and I stood up on shakey legs to walk with him out of the cafeteria and into the hallway. I leaned back against the wall, feeling my pulse racing from being close to my sweet angel at long last. "What's up?" I asked. And Drew looked around to see if anybody was close enough to hear us talking, and he appeared to be struggling with something. "Are you ok?"

"Me? Yeah...I'm fine. Listen..." He started fidgetng a little, and since he didn't have a pencil or pen to twirl in his fingers, he instead wrapped one of his fingers in his soft curls and played with it a little to releave some of the focus on his nervousness. "...what you said earlier...in study hall..."

"Oh...Drew, dude, don't even worry about it. I was just being weird, that's all." I assured him.

"No...that's ok. That's cool. Um...I just...I wanted to tell you that I...I..." Some people passed us i the hall, and Drew tensed up immediately, refusing to speak until they were gone. "...I kinda...enjoy our time together too. A lot...actually."

My body began to tremble, and a silent rush of excitement entered my bloodtream, making my whole body feel weightless. "Oh...good. I mean...me too." I said. His eyes...wow...his eyes.

"Kewl." He sighed. "Um...if you still want to go tomorrow...to lunch I mean...I'll come with you. K? I promise. I guess I kinda miss you..." He blushed a pretty shade of pink, and bit his bottom lip to prevent himself from smiling. But a smile that adorable would not be contained, and my heart leapt up into my throat all over again just to see it up close.

"You did? Good...I uh...I missed you too." I said, blushing myself. Drew looked into my eyes, and instead of just smiling, he let a soft giggle escape his lips, and I couldn't help but let one escape myself. We were trying not to laugh outloud, trying not to blush too much, trying not to make eye contact for too long. But we both failed at all three. At that moment, my love for him grew even stronger, and I was suddenly almost overcome with the intense urge to kiss him. Not some deep, tongue down his throat, kind of kiss. Just a sweet, tender kiss on the cheek. Or maybe a peck on the lips. It was incredibly magnetic, practically forcing me to do it. Kinda like seeing a cute puppy wagging its tail and rolling over on his back for you...knowing that you won't be able to resist the temptation to pet it and shower it with love. This was even stronger, and holding back almost made me ache with the anticipation of telling him just how I feel.

It was then that I looked over Drew's shoulder and into the cafeteria through the glass. I saw Joey, Billy, and Jermaine, huddled together at the table like they were whispering, and occassionally looking over their shoulders to see what we were up to. But you wanna know what the strangest part was? Even though something told me that I should cut this little giggle fest between me and Drew short...I didn't feel the least bit ashamed. Not at all. There wasn't anything telling me to run or to hide or to counteract with something incredibly 'heterosexual'. I was feeling too good to let it bother me. Not when it feels so natural. "So...do you just...wanna meet at the park tomorrow?" I asked, still smiling sweetly in his direction.

"Hehehe..." God, he had the most beautifully boyish giggle! "...I don't know. I guess so." He said, now fidgeting with his hair a bit more aggressively.

"Ok...I'll meet you there."


"And...and I'll call you tonight." I added.

"K..." He repeated, now starting to walk backwards away from me as I walked backwards towards the cafeteria door.

"Alright...later..." It almost came out like a moan when I said it. Like some sexual energy leak that began lacing my every word with sweetened nectar. I must have looked so silly, but I felt so good inside.

"Yeah..." Drew brushed his hair out of his eyes, and turned around to hurriedly walk off down the hallway. And I was almost dizzy with the memory of the brief encounter.

I went back to the lunch table, and it went quiet again. Sly grins on everyone's faces. "Oh come on you guys! We were just talking about the project, for crying outloud!" I smiled back at them.

Billy threw his hands up, "I didn't say anything. We just thought...you know...you two were doing an awful lot of giggling back there. That's all." Billy just grinned and went back to his lunch...then Joey added a little extra.

"Yeah. I was starting to have a flashback of Jermaine and Missy from this weekend. Hehehe!" He said, and we laughed it off as though it was nothing and went back to eating. But...a few moments later, I notice Jermaine looking at me. I don't think he meant to stare, but he was looking awfully hard.

"What?" I asked.

But he just shook his head and said, "Nothing." But there was something in the way he said it that almost worried me. It was almost as though...for the first time...he suspected that there was a piece of his best friend's life that he didn't know as well as he thought he did. A gap in logic that he had never noticed until that very moment. And whether he was trying to hide it or not, his wheels were turning, and I was just hoping that he'd forget about it all and move on. Somehow, it always seems like no one will figure you out before you tell them. Then...suddenly you realize that you're not as 'undercover' as you thought you were.

That night, I wrestled back and forth with my feelings, wanting desperately to talk to Drew, and yet being too scared to call him. Where was the fear coming from? It would be FUN! I know he wants to hear from me...I know I want to hear from him...what am I afraid of? Ok...I'll just call. I'm calling. Right now. I walked over to the phone, and dialed the number, my hands shaking and a smile stretching out as wide as it possibly can across my face. But as soon as I heard the phone ring, I hung up. It was as though my arm had done it all on its own, without my brains command. I was just too giddy to call Drew that night. I would have been so silly, so damn goofy, that I wouldn't have been able to put two words together. So...I chickened out. But that just means I'll have more to talk about the next day. I could hardly sleep that night, just running non-stop off of this inexhaustible energy in my heart. My first experience with love...this is so cool!

We had a video in our biology class that day, and that kept us from talking about much of anything in class, but we made arrangements to meet for lunch as 'scheduled' while walking to his study hall. I stood there with him at the door for a few seconds longer, noticing a few looks from people passing by. They seem to back off of him a little when he's got somebody with him. The cowards only pick on him when he's alone, how sick is that? Still...seeing him standing there, smiling, his cheeks turned up in an childlike grin...it was magic for me. Absolute magic.

"Thanks for the notes yesterday, man." Came a voice over his shoulder, and it was Patrick. I could feel my smile dim...just a little bit. And I looked him directly in the eye. It was a friendly gaze, I suppose, but I was feeling awfully 'territorial' all of the sudden. Something about that kid had my senses ringing.

"Sure, no prob. Oh...Patrick, this is Drew. Drew...Patrick." I shook his hand briefly, but a piece of me was silently warning him that Drew was 'hands off'.

"Cool meeting ya, dude. I'll see you inside Drew." He said, and walked into the classroom. 'See him inside'...psh. Whatever. I hate that kid, and I don't even know him.

"So....that's Patrick, huh?" I asked.

"Yeah. He's actually pretty cool. And he's one of the few people that don't care about my...'you know'...dysfunction. Hehehe!" Drew grinned, and suddenly the thought of him sharing that smile with anyone else made the jealousy inside me burn hotter. I almost didn't want to leave him alone with that...that...specimen of teen perfection.

"Seems pretty 'average', if you ask me." I said matter of factly.

"Hey...be nice." Drew gave me one last bashful smile and said he'd meet me at the park. Funny...seeing him turn around and go into that room almost seemed incomplete without me giving him a kiss goodbye. As normal and natural as kissing my mom goodbye before leaving for school in the morning. It would have been awesome to be able to do that without anybody WATCHING us! Again...invading our privacy with their prejudice.

I looked through the doorway of the classroom, and saw Drew and Patrick talking a bit. It didn't look like anything more than small talk, but for someone so cute, as both of them were, if there was even a hint of homosexuality in Patrick's blood, or even teenage curiousity...they were going to need a shaparone. Screw this...I'm not going to worry myself to death about this. I'm going to class.

I'd be lying if I said that I hadn't thought about it constantly until lunch time arrived, but once I walked out to the park and saw him sitting there, all of my feelings focused themselves into just being totally involved with the most beautifully delicate boy on Earth. "You got here awfully early," I said. "What'd ya do, RUN?"

"I can't help it if you're slow!" He joked around, but I knew that I was walking pretty damn fast to get there, so he had to have really been moving to beat me there.

Lunch was an awesome experience, enjoying the first 'natural' conversation that we've had in a long while. It was like he was finally letting that barrier down low enough for me to peek over and talk to the real Drew. Without him being so guarded about everything. His smile was so delicious, his laugh seemed to tickle my ear drums, and the sun touched him so softly as it shine down on his tender skin. I loved the little crease in his tummy when he was sitting up against the tree. I loved the seductive curve of his little teen butt as he sat with his feet on the ground and his knees up. I couldn't help but stare. Then...it all vanished for a moment, as I heard him say, "I asked Patrick if he wanted to come join us today, but he was doing some other stuff. He might drop by sometime though."

The pinch of hurt that I felt inside was small, but it was enough to take my breath away for a moment or two. "What? I thought...you know...I thought this was 'our' little spot. To get away from things, you know?"

"It IS, it is. But he's actually cool about almost everything, so I thought..."

"You thought you'd just invite him over here, and not tell me?" Exactly what WAS it with this 'Patrick' kid anyway? He's cute, I get it, who cares? I don't see anything so damn special about being good looking! It's not like he actually did anything to be genetically hotter than I am.

Drew wrinkled his forehead a bit and smiled, "What? I can't invite friends out here now?"

"I'm not saying that."

"Well, good. I'm the one that invited YOU, if you'll remember." He kept a genuine smile on his face, but it took a lot to keep me from being noticeably upset. "Besides, I don't have many friends in this place. I could always use someone else on my side."

"That's...that's cool. I'm sure Patrick's...nice." I mumbled.

"Hey, anybody who's not throwing a book at my head is 'nice' in my book." Sigh...Drew was still being cute, still being sweet, but he could see me pouting inside next to him. He leaned over playfully and bumped me with his shoulder. "What's wrong? C'mon, quit being weird and smile a little." He nudged me again, and a third time, until I felt a smile spread out on my face too. Then I looked at the sparkle in his eyes and couldn't help but giggle. "Much better."

"Freak." I whispered, and leaned over to shove him back. It felt good, knowing that he could cheer me up so easily. Still...whether this was all in my mind or not, I had a problem wth this 'Patrick' character, and this was going to force me to make some kind of move. And fast. The last thing I wanted was for Drew to develop a crush on Mr. Cool and have me kick myself for waiting too long to tell him how I feel. We made plans to get together the very next night for the project...and that would be my chance. I'll just...tell him. That's all there is to it. I have NO idea how I'm going to do that...but I'll think of some way. I WILL! And I'll do it tomorrow night! NO backing out! I've just got to develope a warrior's courage between now and then. Here's hoping.

By the next evening, I had almost shaken myself to bits at the idea of finally revealing my feelings for the one boy who had the power to kill me with a single word...no. I had been jittery since I left the park the day before, and now that I was waiting for his ring at my doorbell, I was practically having a heart attack. I did everything that I could think of to keep my mind busy with other things, but Drew muscled his way right back into my thoughts like he always does. Don't chicken out, Ethan...don't do it. I know I'm scared, but I can do this. If I can survive the wait, I'll be fine.

I heard the doorbell chime at last, and I sprinted to the door. I'll just open it, and scream 'I love you, Drew', and be done with it! Easy! I swung the door open....and looked him right in the eye...and felt my testicles shrink immediately! "Hey Ethan. Sorry I'm a bit late, I'm doing the public transportaton thing tonight." One look at him, and I was done for. So I did the only thing I could do, I said hi and invited him in like the coward I am. This is not going to be as easy as I had hoped.

Agony...it's the one word that I could think of that described what I was feeling as I sat next to Drew on the couch that night. Pure agony. My fingers tapped nervously on everything they touched, my mouth stayed dry, no matter how much I had to drink, and the anxiety of telling him was KILLING me! But the undeniable attraction to him made me keep trying. It was like a ball of lightning in my stomach, ready to burst forth any second. I was so enchanted with him, so focused on his every detail, that I almost felt like I could do it. That I could actually tell him how I felt. How I had made rules for myself to not be gay, how I hid it from everyone, and how I tried everything in my power to fix it and make it right. More importantly...I wanted to tell him how he came along and completely wrecked the master plan, and how much I love him for it. The whole night I kept looking at his profile, trying not to smile, trying not to stare too hard, trying to keep my excitable erection out of view. I kept trying to find the perfect opportunity to say something, to steer the conversation into some avenue that would allow me to lead up to the big confession. For some reason, this particular biology experiment didn't leave a lot of room for that. But I swear...it was on the tip of my tonuge. It was RIGHT there!

I was so drawn to him, the love inside scratching and clawing it's way to the surface. I found myself leaning closer, inhaling the smell of his sweet breath everytime he talked to me, focusing my gaze on the smooth curve of his neck as it went down into his shirt. I kept moving closer and closer, occassionally looking for reasons for us to share the same page in the book, just so I could lean even closer, almost cheek to cheek. The urge to kiss him was overpowering. I was waiting for any opportunity that he could give me. Any opportunity at all. But my trembling was reminding me how utterly terrified I was of the outcome. And I kept a safe, although uncomfortable, distance from doing anything stupid. Still, I was so close that I could almost taste his kiss on my lips. Thinking to myself, "If he turns to look at me one more time...I'll kiss him. THERE...no wait...NOW! Hold on...ok, he's looking at the book...now just lean closer, and when he looks at me again...I'll do it. NOW! No wait...I missed it. He's so cute! Ok...next time, I SWEAR!" But out of a billion chances that I had to do it, I talked myself out of it every time. I was simply too nervous to go on with it. I didn't even know HOW to kiss somebody, what made me think that I could improvise something like that all of the sudden? How in the hell did it work LAST time? What did I do to lock lips with him that was so different? It caught me by surprise, that's how. Sigh...it's so much easier when you don't have to think about it.

"So, I think that's it. I'll write up some note cards for our presentation and all, and we should at least drag a 'B' out of all this, if we're lucky." He said with a smile. But I didn't say anything...I just stared at him. "I'm glad we worked on this together. It was fun." He said.

"...yeah." I whispered. This was it...this HAD to be it. It was late, our project was finished, and he'd be leaving any minute. Now or never. Just had to steady myself, dig my heels in, and just...SPEAK! SPEAK DAMN YOU!

"I should be going, dude. My dad will worry if I come home too late. But I'll see you tomorrow, k?" He said, and he started collecting his books. No no NO! THINK! SAY something! YOU PROMISED!!!

"Drew...." I started, not knowing what the hell I was going to follow that up with.

"Yeah?" He was so...'friendly' about it. Not having the slightest idea how big the next words about to come out of my mouth were going to be.

"I'm...really glad...that you came over tonight..." I stuttered. "REALLY...um...glad."

"Awww, thanks. I'm glad I came over too."

"Yeah...so...remember when I said that I liked...spending time with you?" Come on Ethan, quit beating around the bush and just TELL him! "I do. I always like spending time with you. And...well..." I searched my soul for the words, and couldn't find them. Drew was paying full attention, even though I was babbling, but he already had his jacket on and ready to go. The pressure in my chest was crushing me, and I couldn't speak. I just couldn't SPEAK! "I...I...love..." Sigh...COWARD! "...I love spending time with you. That's all." I said. Mentally, I was beating myself up for letting yet another chance slide right by me! I was SO fucking pathetic! I HATED myself soooo much! But I knew that he'd be gone soon, and the pressure would let go of the vice like grip it had on my heart, and I'd start the emotionally draining process all over again. God, this sucks.

When I finally picked my eyes up from the floor, I saw a different look in Drew's eyes. It was more than his usual shyness, it was almost like he was 'scared' of me. Scared of himself. And he just replied, "Um...thanks. I've...I've gotta go."

He headed for the door, and something inside of me wanted to do something to at least say that I tried. I was quaking with fear, and my doubts were screaming 'DON'T DO IT'! But, I walked over to the front door with him and gave him a long tight hug. "I'll see ya soon, ok?" I moaned, and I felt him shiver a bit from the contact. Then...as awkwardly as humanly possible, I loosened the hug, and kissed Drew on the cheek. I felt my body shaking, and my legs were almost too weak to stand on. It was a little more than a peck, but nothing overly erotic. Still, the contact was enough to set off fireworks in my heart.

Drew's eyes got a bit wider, and he stepped back from me, a nervous look of shock on his face. He backed up a bit more without saying anything and bumped ino the door. "I've gotta...I'll see you...later...I mean, tomorrow...Ethan." I nodded, and we both stood there, not knowing what to say to each other. "K...g'night." And he stumbled around the door and left.

Hearing the latch on tht door close was one of the most painful noises I had ever heard. It meant that I had failed. Miserably, I might add. But at LEAST I got a quick kiss. That alone was almost enough to make me float through another week. Still...it wasn't what I wanted. It wasn't what I needed. I was going to clean up the table where we studying by the couch, when I heard the doorbell ring. I opened it up, and I saw Drew standing outside again. "H-h-hey..." I mumbled.

"Hey...I...uh...I left my notes here. I need them...to write the note cards..." He said, that same look of worry on his adorable face.

"Oh...yeah, sure. It's over on the table."

"Ok......thanks." He said, and quickly walked past me to grab his notebook. He was back in a flash, and there we were again, standing at the front door. "I'll...I'll see you tomorrow..." He repeated, and we both stood there for a moment in silence, before he moved closer and gently kissed me on the cheek. Actually, it was more like the side of my mouth, and it shot a bolt of electricity through me. I was paralyzed, but was able to work up enough energy to smile. I giggled a little, ad I felt my face blush instantly. Drew's grin spread across his face, and I saw him turn red as well as he moved to open the door again. "Um...g'night...Ethan."

"G'night." He shut the door, and he was gone again. But this time...the feeling inside wasn't one of failure. It was one of hope that something likethis might actually work out. Imagine that.

I hadn't even turned around before the doorbell rang again. This time, when I opened it, Drew walked in immediately and closed the door behind him. He was trembling slightly, and I felt that ball of lightning stir up inside me again. We looked at each other, confused as to what we were feeling, what to do to find out, what would happen if we did. But after a few seconds of looking into each other's eyes...there wasn't any room for thought at all. Only action. He moved towards me, and our lips connected. Experimentally at first, but soon his head turned to one side, and mine to the other, and the kiss blossomed into something so beautiful that it made me weak in the knees. My arms snaked around his hips and caressed him in a tender embrace. Wow...he was even softer than he looked. And soooo warm. His arms went up to my shoulders and his fingers danced their way through my hair. He held the back of my head gently, and our kissing became more passionate, finally releasing the tension between us that we had built up for so long. And this time, when his tongue timidly moved to enter my mouth, I welcomed it wholeheartedly. Once that happened, Drew was practically in tears from the joy that he felt from being loved in retur for the first time. That one kiss was one of the most exciting moments of my entire life, and when we broke away from it, we were both dizzy and breathless.

We just looked at each other in amazement, not knowing how all of that started, but happy that it did. I giggled out loud and Drew copied me with a giggle of his own. "G'night...hehehe..." I blushed.

"G'night..." He was so sweet, the way he smiled at me that night, his cheeks a rosey color, his hair slightly frazzled from kissing. He it his bottom lip again to try not to smile too wide, still rying to keep a level of 'coolness' about it all. Even thogh he was turning backflips in his heart. And so was I.


"See ya..." Then he walked up to give me a few more quick kisses on the lips, which turned into another long one. And he finally licked his lips and left.

"Sigh..." I didn't know what to do with myself, so I just stretched my arms out and laid down right there on the floor. I couldn't stop smiling! I felt so light that I thought I would float away any second! I wanted to scream! He likes me! Oh God...the most beautiful boy in the whole world...likes ME!!! I laughed to myself and kicked my feet, stomping them on the floor. "YES! YES YES YES YES YES!!!!" I giggled, and I stayed on that floor for another hour, just lost in the whole new world of possibilities that opened up the moment he kissed me. It was then that I whispered to myself..."I love you Drew. I love you."

Those words were going to be much easier to say from now on.